RICHARDSON, Jonathan, Two Discourses. I. An Essay on the whole Art of Criticism as it relates to Painting. Shewing how to judge I. Of the Goodness of a Picture ; II. Of the Hand of the Master ; and III. Whether ‘tis an Original, or a Copy. II. An Argument in behalf of the Science of a Connoisseur ; Wherein is shewn the Dignity, Certainty, Pleasure, and Advantage of it. Both by Mr. Richardson, London, W. Churchill, 1719.1 quotations
If in a Picture the Story be well chosen, and finely Told (at least) if not Improv’d, if it fill the Mind with Noble, and Instructive Ideas, I will not scruple to say ‘tis an excellent Picture, tho’ the Drawing be as Incorrect as that of Corregio, Titian, or Rubens ; the Colouring as Disagreeable as that of Polidore, Battista Franco, or Michael Angelo. Nay, tho’ there is no other Good but that of the Colouring, and the Pencil, I will dare to pronouce it a Good Picture ; that is, that ‘tis Good in those Respects. In the first Instance here is a fine Story artfully communicated to my Imagination, not by Speech, nor Writing, but in a manner preferable to either of them ; In the other there is a Beautiful, and Delightful Object, and a fine piece of Workmanship, to say no more of it.
There never was a Picture in the World without some Faults, And very rarely is there one to be found which is not notoriously Defective in some of the Parts of Painting. In judging of it’s Goodness as a Connoisseur, one should pronounce it such in proportion to the Number of the Good Qualities it has, and their Degrees of Goodness.